Fort Custer Expanding; Battle Creek, MDOT Closing Part of Skyline Drive

Posted at 6:12 PM, Jun 23, 2014
and last updated 2014-06-23 19:57:10-04

BATTLE CREEK, Mich. (June 23, 2014) – Fort Custer Training Center will soon be expanding and that means a roadway in Battle Creek is being eliminated.

Skyline Dr., between Hill Brady Rd. and Dickman Rd. will be ‘obliterated.’

It’s a project that also means the I-94 business loop will be rerouted.

The project is still months away, with construction scheduled to begin in the spring of 2015, then running through November.

The project is estimated to cost $16.7 million, which includes rebuilding the Columbia Ave. overpass.

When the work is done, the overpass will have three traffic lanes and bike lanes on each side of the road.

The ramps will also be re-paved.

“From Hill Brady up to Dickman, M-96, Dickman Rd., we’ll be vacating most, obliterating part of that road,” said Nick Schirripa, a spokesman with the Michigan Department of Transportation. “There’s some expansion going on, or planned, at the Fort Custer air national guard base with some expanded munitions capabilities, so they need a bigger blast radius and Skyline Dr. falls in part of that.”

Back in January, the Pentagon announced it would further study four possible east coast missile defense sites, Fort Custer among them.

In order for the site to work in Battle Creek, interim city manager Susan Bedsole says the base needs an expanded blast radius.

Bedsole told FOX 17 there are additional benefits to closing the road, such as consolidating the branches of the military.

“It puts us in the best position for whatever may come in the future and to help our military,” said Bedsole.

Bedsole says that kind of consolidation can better position the base to withstand Base Realignment and Closure Commission.

The elimination of part of Skyline Dr. also means the I-94 business loop will need to be re-routed.

“That’s where that Columbia Ave. east to Hellmer Rd. north – that little jog around the airport – that’s where that comes into play,” Schirripa said.

MDOT says it will host open houses ahead of the project in an effort to hear from residents and to inform the city about how it will impact traffic flow.